You are about to release an app and you have no idea how much to charge for it. You can ask experts or hire a consultant – but not even them will be able to give you a precise answer. So why not ask your consumers?
Marketing decisions are expensive and influence the entire business. Sharing these decisions with consumers might seem crazy, but can help you beat the competition.
Ask the Right Questions
Some years ago I was working on toy made of plastic. The pigments were super expensive and I could only choose 2 colors. We didn’t have the power of social networks back then, so I called a couple of friends (who were consumers) and talked about the products they liked. After a dozen calls I figured out exactly what colors to chose.
Think of it as “mini-researches”: there is a million ways to connect with consumers and encourage practical feedback. It’s all about asking the right questions.
Engadget has a great feature called “How would you change …?” Instead of asking “What’s wrong with your gadget?”, they propose a discussion of practical ways to improve it. Genius. That’s free information for companies, sometimes way more reliable than market research.
Present your questions in a more subtle way and make people comfortable about sharing their ideas. Instead of asking a direct question that looks like a survey, promote interesting discussions to help people communicate freely. In other words: help people help you. When I called my friends I didn’t ask “What’s your favorite color?”. I just started a conversation about what they enjoyed in their products – and then I listened. They talked about colors, models and shapes.
Do you want to know what patterns will become popular in your upcoming fashion collection? Publish some previews on Pinterest and see what gets more hype. Talk about the patterns you are designing and follow the discussions.
Do you need to upgrade your product? Instead of relying just on market research, promote a discussion and see what consumers think about the current version. Post some questions like “How would you change this feature?” or “We are working on a new version of this product! What features would you like to see on future versions?”.
How about pricing? We started this article with the new app example. So, how do you discover how much to charge for your app?
Simple: offer a preview for a blogger to test and tell him what price (or price range) you are thinking about. Wait for the article to be published and see what people think about your prices. You will see answers like “that’s too cheap to be true” or “I wouldn’t buy it for half the price”. Filter the haters and random messages and you will have real, worthy feedback to help you position your product in the market.
Make Good Use of Feedback
After you have filtered and analyzed your feedback, build strategies around it. It’s much better to read something like “I wouldn’t buy it for half the price” on a preview, than on the actual review of the final product. This gives you time to calibrate your pricing strategy and stay ahead of the competition.
Sharing decisions with consumers is an interactive method for gathering practical feedback and putting it to good use. In addition to that, it’s inexpensive and fast (pretty much the opposite of market research).